Looking back to September 10, 2001, it seemed that all was right with the world, but in fact, it was not, as we would all find out the very next morning. There were warning signs that terrorists were plotting something, but then weren’t they always. That’s what terrorists do…plot evil, plan to kill as many people as possible, and plan to bring a greater measure of fear into the world. September 11, 2001 would be no different. When 19 al Qaeda militants, hijacked 4 US airliners that morning, the terror had begun. In years past, a hijacked plane was used to take the hijackers to some other country, preferably one without extradition. The passengers were told that this was going to be a hijacking like that, but when the terrorists began slashing people with box cutters, and took over the cockpit, the people knew that this was not a normal hijacking. We all know far too well what the end result of this horrific act of brutal terrorism was.

In all, 2996 people, including the 19 terrorists, lost their lives at four locations that day. Of those 2996 people, only 291 bodies were found intact. A total of 21,906 body parts were found, and 1717 families got no remains at all. In addition, 25,000 more people were injured, and a large number of them have died of 9-11 related illnesses since then. The smoke and debris that came out of the burning jet fuel and buildings was so toxic, and those who helped with the searches and cleanup were exposed. It was a deadly combination. No one knew, or if they did, they disregarded the danger, in an effort to save lives. A few lives were saved. A few people were pulled out of the buildings alive. Theirs was a miracle, and they knew that for the rest of their lives, they would be a walking miracle. Of course, they would also most likely feel some degree of survivor’s guilt, although they shouldn’t. Nevertheless, it is a natural phenomenon, that people tend to struggle with for years, if not the rest of their lives. It never leaves.

For those who lost loved ones on that horrible day, it goes without saying that they will never forget, but the reality is that no one should ever forget. How could we forget, when we see that pictures of the planes going into the towers, or the walls of the Pentagon destroyed, or the massive hole in the Pennsylvania earth. Those aren’t just pictures…they are lives. They are lives lost, and families forever changed. They are children who will grow up without parents, people who with grow old without the spouse they had planned to have with them. They are sons and daughters, whose lives were stolen from them…whose promise was snuffed out before it could be fulfilled. For all of those people…it is our duty to “never forget!!” Our nation lost the feeling of safety that we had before. We don’t trust those we don’t know as much as we used to. We will always be forever changed. Never forget that!! Ever!!

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